Saturday, October 19, 2013

Marcel Prawy

Marcel Prawy (birth name: Marcel Horace Frydmann, Ritter von Prawy) (born 29 December 1911, in Vienna  – 23 February 2003, in Vienna) was an Austrian dramaturg, opera connoisseur and opera critic.Prawy was born into a Jewish Austro-Hungarian noble family.               
He studied law, but his life belonged to the opera. As secretary of the tenor Jan Kiepura, he emigrated to the USA when persecution of the Austrian Jews became unbearable in the late 1930s. With the help of his confidante Martha Eggerth he became acquainted with American musicals and music in general. After the end of the Second World War, Prawy returned to Vienna and brought with him the musical Kiss me, Kate. It was received by the Viennese with great reservation as they feared the arrival of the American-style musical would spell the end of the traditional Viennese operetta. Nonetheless, Prawy succeeded and was considered henceforth as the one who made German language musicals acceptable and popular.
 He became widely known and highly regarded because of a television and radio broadcast series produced by the ORF, where he introduced his viewers and listeners to the world of opera and operetta with outstanding knowledge of the subject matter and marvelous humor. He was awarded numerous awards and honours by the nation and internationally, including becoming honorary citizen of Vienna and Miami. Hardly anyone succeeded in picturing opera to his audience as impressively as he did. And thus Prawy became an institution of the Viennese opera as the National Guide to Opera (Opernführer der Nation).
In his final years, Prawy was quite frank about his unique, and rather eccentric, method of archiving his enormous collection, gathered over many decades, of theatre programmes, recordings, letters, photographs, personal notes, and similar loose sheets.  
On his 90th birthday in 2001, a special celebration was held for him in the Vienna State Opera. Prawy's death in 2003 of a lung embolism was regarded as the passing of one of the last witnesses of an old time gone by and greatly mourned by the public.
Thank you Daniella for this lovely miniature sheet honouring a great musician.

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